5 best family dinners during a summer heat wave

You know those sweltering summer days when it's way too hot to slave over the stove? Well, that shouldn't mean you can't still make something delicious, healthy, and substantial for your family. Meals like salads, sandwiches, and cold soups are ideal when the temperature starts to climb. We've got five fabulous no-cook dinner ideas to get you through the summer months. Check 'em out:

More from The Stir: Best Low-Calorie BBQ Sauce Revealed!

1. Cobb Salad is a cool and crunchy delight in the summer. Plus, it looks so pretty. Arrange rows of chopped avocado, deli turkey, hard-cooked eggs, tomatoes, and cheddar cheese over a bed of greens. Then drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette.

2. Feel like Italian but don't want to mess with hot pasta? Try an Italian Sub -- layers of salami, pepperoni, ham, mozzarella, provolone, pepperoncini, and a drizzle of Italian dressing all on a fresh hoagie.

3. If you're sick of tuna, Creamy Shrimp Salad is a great way to go. Combine cooked shrimp with mayonnaise, diced celery, dill, and fresh lemon juice. Then serve over romaine or in a sandwich.

4. Want a salad that's really different but really good? Try a Panzanella Salad. It's chunks of day-old bread and fresh mozzarella cheese with tomatoes, red onion, black olives, garlic, and fresh basil leaves, all tossed in red wine vinaigrette.

5. Cold soup is the perfect way to cool down on a hot summer's day and still say healthy. This recipe for Tomato Gazpacho is loaded with fresh veggies. To make it more substantial, top with cooked crab or shrimp, diced avocado, or even crumbled feta cheese, and serve with crusty baguette.

More from The Stir: Taste Test: The Best Ketchup Isn't The One You'd Think!

Tomato-y Summer Gazpacho

Ingredients

  • 6-8 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium seedless cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 tablespoons sherry
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Handful fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Cooked crab, shrimp, diced avocado, or crumbed cheese (optional)

Instructions

  1. Add first 8 ingredients to blender or food processor.
  2. Pulse/blend until the gazpacho is soupy but still has good-sized chunks. For thinner soup, blend until smooth.
  3. Top with crab, shrimp, avocado, and/or crumbled cheese.

Image via jlastras/Flickr


Written by Kim Conte or CafeMom's blog, The Stir.

More from The Stir:

Eating 25,000 Big Macs Makes You Skinny & Famous!

You'll Never Guess What Starbucks Was Almost Named

How to Serve Fried Kool-Aid (VIDEO)

Exploding Watermelons Are Da Bomb This Summer!